Smoking laws in Portugal 2021: new rules for bars, restaurants and nightclubs

The Portuguese Government is finalising new smoking laws in Portugal that will affect bars, restaurants and nightclubs depending on their size.

Smoking rules in Portugal 2021
16 August 2021, Redaction

The Portuguese Government wants to tighten the rules for smoking in enclosed spaces. The new measures, detailed in a draft ordinance proposed by the government, are still being discussed and finalised, but state, for example, that only bars, nightclubs and restaurants with more than 100m2 and a minimum ceiling height of 3 metres may have smoking areas. We have all the details about smoking laws in Portugal 2021 and these new smoking rules for bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

According to Portugal's Público newspaper, which broke the news on these new smoking rules in Portugal, establishments that meet these requirements can have a smoking room. However, this size of this room must not exceed 20% of the total area. In addition, the smoking area must be separated from the rest of the space by a ventilated antechamber, with automatic sliding doors. A maximum capacity should be defined according to the space and ventilation system, which has to be validated by an engineer or a technical engineer specialised in air conditioning.

In addition to the requirement for external ventilation in antechambers, ventilation in smoking rooms must be guaranteed by "ventilation and extraction equipment" independent of any other building systems, according to the newspaper.

According to Ricardo Tavares from the Portuguese Association of Bars and Discos, the Government's proposal "is a camouflaged way of saying that smoking is now forbidden in bars, restaurants and nightclubs in Portugal", stating that this is because "the rules are impossible to comply with". He goes on to add that in big cities in Portugal, the vast majority of bars are between 30 and 40m2, meaning that they are immediately eliminated from this possibility. "In nightclubs, the costs are so high, both for the installation and maintenance of ventilation systems, that owners will quickly conclude that it is not profitable," argues Tavares. 

While many see this as a positive that smoking will be banned in Portuguese bars, restaurants and nightclubs, Tavares also stated that this measure in any case will just encourage customers to smoke in the street.

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